Courtesy Aubrey Slater, bartender/bar manager, New York City
The classic Old Fashioned is among the “easiest to manipulate and riff,” says New York City bartender and beverage director Aubrey Slater. If you switch out sweeteners, bitters and spirits, “the possibilities and combinations are endless,” she says.
This is a good excuse to break out something delicious. In general, it’s an uncomplicated drink that highlights the base spirit. For the rum-based Old Fashioned variation below, Slater recommends an aged rum at least eight years old.
Angostura’s warming spice notes are the usual addition to an Old Fashioned, but Slater supplements with orange bitters, too.
Because this drink is so straightforward, it’s a good one to showcase with beautiful glassware and large ice cubes.
“All drinks are more forgiving with the ice, especially if you have good ice,” says Webb. “And it looks more impressive.”
Here are more ideas to make this your own:
- Whiskey is the classic base for an Old Fashioned, but any brown spirit works well. Try rum, brandy, applejack, reposado Tequila, barrel-aged gin or genever.
- Instead of Demerara syrup, other variations might rely upon maple syrup, honey or simple syrup (made with white sugar instead of Demerara), or small amounts of liqueur or sweeter-style amari.
Relaxed Rum Old Fashioned
- 2 ounces aged rum (preferably at least 8 years old)
- ¼ ounce Demerara syrup (2 parts Demerara sugar stirred into 1 part hot water)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Thick orange peel, for garnish
In rocks glass, stir first four ingredients with large piece of ice. Express orange peel over top of drink, then use it to garnish.